Coast Guard Mitigates Pollution from Grounded Vessesl

JUNEAU, Alaska — The 82-ft fishing vessel Westward ran aground Sunday on a rocky shore in the vicinity of Point Ildefonso on the southwest side of Prince of Wales Island. Crewmembers from another fishing vessel in the area, the Confidence, rescued the stricken vessel’s two crewmembers.

UNEAU, Alaska – The F/V Westward is submerged at high tide on the banks of Prince of Wales Island. The 82-foot fishing vessel ran aground Sunday Feb. 17. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan coordinated with the Westward’s owner to manage response. (Photo by USCG)

The Westward, built in 1943, has two large holes in its wooden hull, allowing it to be almost completely submerged at high tide. The vessel carried 4000 gallons of diesel, 150 gallons of lube oil and 150 gallons of hydraulic oil. Coast Guard air assets observed a 2.5NM sheen emanating from the wreck. Because the vessel was carrying 130 tons of bate herring from Ketchikan to Klawock, it is unclear whether the sheen consisted primarily of herring oil or petroleum products.

After ensuring that the Westward’s crewmembers were safe, the Coast Guard focused on mitigating further pollution. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan coordinated with the Westward’s owner to manage the response.

Crewmembers from the fishing vessel Josie J. volunteered to transport and deploy boom from the Craig Harbor Master to contain the sheen.

The Coast Guard used federal funds to hire Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO) to remove the remaining fuel and oil from the vessel. SEAPRO’s oil spill recovery vessel Rudyard Bay lightered approximately 2000 gallons of diesel from one of the vessel’s tanks on Monday. Work on recovering the remaining oil continues today. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

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